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American Idol 3, May 3: The Final Five Specialby Donna Reynolds -- 05/04/2004
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It’s a special night for American Idol fans. Tonight there are no judges and no voting. It’s just Ryan, the finalists, and a packed house! Ryan welcomes us to show and reminds us that the heat is on and the pressure will be greater than ever this week. There have been highs and lows including the eliminations which have “sent shock waves through the nation.” But tonight we can forget all that. It’s all about the final five, who will be singing their favorite songs from the season. Plus we will also have a chance to get to know them all a little bit better.
It sure has been a long, tough road. Thankfully, the auditions are glossed over and there is a quick recap of the eliminations to date. It really does seem as though it has been a long time since we said goodbye to Leah and Matt, doesn’t it? Ryan brings us up to the present, closing with John Stevens and then asks the question, “How well do we really know these guys?” And we’ll find out… after the break!
First up tonight is Fantasia Barrino, who joins Ryan on the stage. They’ve brought out some comfy leather chairs and Fantasia curls up in one of them, barefoot. She tells Ryan that she hates shoes and only wears them when absolutely necessary. She seems so young! I forget that she is only 19. Ryan reminds us that Fantasia is also a mother. She gives credit to her own mother who is taking care of her daughter, Zion. She tells us that her mother is behind her 100%. Fantasia wants to do whatever she can for her daughter and tells Ryan that having a child has pushed her to work harder.
She talks about singing at church and tells Ryan that this makes it easier for her to perform with a live band. She’s hyper and church music suits her style. Ryan asks her how she felt about being in the bottom three that fateful week. She tells him that at this point, they are all winners and that is what she told Jennifer that night. She talks about how hard Jennifer worked and that she was always the first one up in the morning. All in all, she’s happy with the way things are going. Her main goal was to come and get one person to hear her. She has done that!
Ryan asks her about Simon’s challenging her to step it up and take risks. She answers by saying that she considers herself to be multi-talented and has taken every genre and fit it to her style. She believes that Simon is afraid of her! Ryan wants to learn the bobo dance and she tries to teach him. He sort of gets it!
Fantasia sings “Summertime” again and proves that performance was no fluke. What an incredible interpretation of this classic song. I sit back and just enjoy the moment. I actually think she does it better the second time around. Very powerful. Thanks, Fantasia. The audience certainly approves!
Now it’s George’s turn. Ryan calls him the “omelet chef.” George is wearing that great tan leather blazer again and looks great. The signs are out in force, including one reading “Huff Daddy.” George is still amazed at all of this and just shakes his head! Ryan isn’t sure that the audience knows George’s story and asks him how he found out he was back in the competition. Since he didn’t make the top 32, he thought he was out of the running. He was back in Oklahoma, resting on the couch in his apartment after work. The phone rang and at first, he ignored it. When he heard the message he flipped out. It was an Idol staff member who told him they were bringing him back to the show. He thought he was coming back for the wildcard show but it was for the final group of eight. He thanks all the members of his church who prayed for him to return. Ryan seems amazed at George’s energy and tells him that he seems to be channeling Little Richard!
George tells Ryan that every time he gets on the stage, the good always outweighs the bad. He is so grateful to have been given the opportunity to share his gift of song with America and tells Ryan, “That is something to be joyful in.”
When asked what the most challenging component of the competition has been for him, he answers quickly. For him the challenge has been choosing the right song. He wants to please the judges – or rather the judge. He laughs, but obviously, Simon’s opinion weighs heavily on him.
Ryan asks about the bond the contestants have formed and George talks about his friendship with Jennifer. He says that he loves “big hair” and that is what initially attracted to him when he first saw her in Pasadena. He claims that he made some totally unrelated comment to her and she gave him that “look!” But when he heard her sing, he was wowed! He loves her personality, her heart, and her singing. They kept in touch after he didn’t make the top 32 and she was thrilled when he returned and they met again in the Wildcard show. Her elimination was very emotional for George. He tells Ryan that after that show, he looked at her face and his entire Idol experience flashed before his eyes. They have become very close friends and are prayer partners.
George is singing “Take Me to the Pilot” again, calling it his most exciting performance to date. He tells Ryan that he had never heard the song before so it was new to him. He encourages the audience to “bounce” along with him and then he gets it going. George’s voice is back folks and he is better than ever! It is as though the storms of the past few weeks are over and he is stepping back into the sunlight. He dances into the audience and really wows ‘em! In a neat moment, he and his mother dance. The audience, which includes JPL, is up and bouncing with him. Allow me one moment here – it really is all about the George!1 2 Next-->
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